Vietnam police promise justice in violent land revocation case

TN News

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Police in Hai Phong said they are continuing investigation into the revocation of a farmer's land rights that resulted in a violent standoff last January.

Senior Lieutenant Pham Duy Bien told news website VnExpress Thursday that they are still collecting evidence and promised to bring everyone responsible to justice.

The police recently arrested one official, Nguyen Van Khanh, former deputy chairman of Tien Lang District, for allegedly having two houses of the farmer destroyed.

Armed soldiers and policemen were sent to take back land leased to a farmer in an act described by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and many government agencies as "illegal" and "improper."

It caused ripples around the country, but only Khanh has been arrested so far and that too only took place on October 22.

The local farmers association has urged the police to also charge Le Van Hien, former chairman of the district, and Bui The Nghia, the district Party head, who Khanh said gave him the revocation order.

But Bien said Khanh's statement alone is not evidence enough to arrest anyone, and the police are investigating.

Khanh and Hien were suspended in February, but the latter was reinstated and transferred to the Department of Interior in April.

Khanh is being held for investigation of a charge of "damaging properties" which carries a prison sentence of seven to 15 years.

His three subordinates face the same charge but are not being held.

Some 100 soldiers and police officers were dispatched after the farmer refused to give up his land, saying the lease had not expired and he had put too much work into it.

The angry farmer Doan Van Vuon and his family members fought the troops with guns and their homemade bombs, injuring six of them.

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In Vietnam, all lands are owned by the government and technically people can only buy and sell the right to use them.

But the government can revoke the right at any time, and usually pays compensation.

The government has ruled that the farmer' lease had not expired.

Vuon, his two brothers, and a nephew have been arrested for attacking the soldiers and police officers.

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